Holacracy Community of Practice Archive, 2015-2019 Community Holacracy Web Site

Welcome Cyrus! 

I can respond to this part..."

1) While I want me and my co-founders to have equal equity ownership to be fair to everyone, I am concerned that due to the consensus-based decision-making process of Holacracy, one co-founder may do something that does not align with the mission of our startup (helping independent musicians, artists, and children) and I'd like the power to be able to override that decision.

As I have invested the most capital and time, I would like to put something in the bylaws that give me some sort of final right of refusal and/or maybe differentiating between the type of shares that we all own as I think this is what Mark Zuckerberg is doing with Facebook where he still retains the voting rights despite giving a lot of the company away to charities.

A few comments: 

A) Holacracy is not consensus-based in the sense that you never need people to agree on a solution. If it were, then your own problem would be solved, because if you don't want someone doing something that doesn't align with the mission, then you could just not agree with it, and it wouldn't happen. Authorities, restrictions, and expectations are captured in governance, so if you need to prevent something from happening, then you just capture that prohibition there. 

What you cannot do, is as you said, just override a decision someone else makes without having to provide a justification (i.e. having it pass in a governance meeting). Meaning, you can capture anything you need to in governance, but anything you propose must be shared with the other roles in the circle and they must have an opportunity to object to that particular solution...but "object" isn't the same as "not agree with..." and it would never actually prevent you from processing your tension...it just would mean that there may be another solution which would still solve your issue, but also wouldn't cause an issue for anyone else. The specifics of what makes a valid objection is kinda technical, so I'll skip it for now, my point is simply that any restrictions you need to capture can be captured in governance, which doesn't prevent you from controlling things the way you think they should be controlled, but neither does it disempower or limit others in processing their own tensions or having control themselves.  

B) Regarding ownership representation/authority, I would just generally recommend differentiating ownership stakes from operational decisions. In the case of HolacracyOne, we have a policy which specifies different partnership tiers based on several factors (including investment in the company), which then allows us to involve partners at different tiers to appropriate levels of impact...like hiring, dismissal, etc.....but it is definitely NOT a blanket authority to veto others decisions. 

Baking in some sort of veto rights, while trying to successfully practice Holacracy, will not work. But it's not because having control is a problem. The problem is the universal/general/blanket/non-specific nature of that kind of authority. It has no boundaries. Holacracy is simply saying that your authority, as well as everyone else's, need to have some defined boundaries if we are going to work together in a way that maximizes our individual and collective intelligence. Or another way of saying it, you can't control everything, but you can control anything.